Professor Leszek Kolakowski started writing about Marxism while he live in Poland. He became disillusioned with Communism after the Polish uprising in 1956. He stayed in Poland until the Spring of 1968, when he lost his position at Warsaw University for supporting the student uprising.
During his earlier years he was already writing about the failures of the official “Socialist Doctrine”, here is an excerpt from the article about him;
After the first widespread social uprisings occurred, Kolakowski, then a young philosopher and still an idealist, in one of his essays entitled “What is Socialism?” summarized the real nature of the system. Using Rabelaisian negations to express “what socialism is not,” Kolakowski unveiled its real face describing it as a state
“in which a person who has not committed any crime sits at home waiting for the police, in which there are more spies than nurses and more people in prisons than in hospitals, in which one is forced to resort to lies…in which a person who does not think at all lives better — and which wants all citizens to have the same opinions in philosophy, economics, literature, and ethics, in which the philosopher and writers always say the same thing as the generals and ministers, but always after them, in which one must each day refute what one affirmed the day before and always believe it to be the same.”
Kolakowski concluded his essay by sardonically stating that this was “the first point. But now listen attentively, we will tell you what socialism is — well then, socialism is a good thing.”
As one can see Kolakowski saw the deficiencies of a socialist dictatorship. By the time he came to the US to be a visiting professor at many universities, such as Yale, UC Berkeley, and others, he came to understand the importance of religion in our daily lives. The article about him reports;
Kolakowski argues that God is not, and cannot be, an empirical hypothesis. Faith is a function of an attitude. Anyone who sees signs of God’s presence in life admits that faith precedes his acts of reading these signs, not the other way around. Thus, the old wisdom is confirmed that neither learning nor scientific sophistication makes anybody’s Christian faith better. The strength of Christianity does not rest on its prophecies and miracles but on the way of the cross. Kolakowski seems to be convinced that the experience of daily life allows people with faith, strong beliefs, and a purposeful order to see ultimate meaning in everything. The importance and value of such an attitude is that one is better prepared to sustain the inevitable blows of destiny and not to succumb to despair.
He fully endorses that faith is to be lived and practiced, not just a weekly display for our neighbors. Here is a man who has seen society from many angles and through his own intellect has determine the preferred part.
Here is a link to the full article. Read More.